WAYNE – MayDay STOL came to an abrupt and tragic halt around 6:45 Friday night.
According to a release from STOL officials, the three-day event at the Wayne Municipal-Stan Morris Field attracted pilots from across the country for what is, essentially, airplane drag racing.
Forty-five year old Tom Dafoe from California was piloting a 1946 Cessna 140 and was flying in the fourth heat of a traditional STOL pick-up match when the plane entered a stall-spin around 300 feet above ground, from a base-to-final turn, according to eyewitnesses on the scene. Dafoe was killed because of the impact.
The event had been scheduled to run for through Sunday and was to include a STOL Drag competition on Friday, which had been canceled because of high winds. MayDay STOL event organizers immediately stopped the events following the crash and most participants headed home. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have begun an investigation into what led up to the accident.
Photos: Courtesy Tom Dafoe Facebook Page
Posting on Nick’s Wild Ride on Facebook: “Yesterday (Friday) the world lost a good guy, a father, a husband, a good friend, and a good pilot. Tom Dafoe headed west too soon and leaves behind a wife and 5 kids. If you knew Tom, please consider donating something to help his family during this terrible time. Also, please share this with anyone you can. Thank you.”
FlyingMag.com contributed to this story